Top 5 Hot Topics in Post-Production

Ron Sussman / 6.29.2020

It’s an interesting time in the ever-changing world of Post Production. With quarantines and stay-at-home orders, there has been a big shift in how Post is being done across the industry. Advances in artificial intelligence, color science and the available tools at our disposal have made the past six months interesting and exciting. What follows is a countdown of the top five hot topics affecting how we do Post at our Arizona Post Production studio.

Post Production Hop Topic #5 – ACES Color Workflow

This is a big one. ACES stands for Academy Color Encoding System, a color management system championed by the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. It attempts to standardize how color is handled from acquisition through post and delivery. ACES consists of:

  • Encoding specifications
  • Transform definitions and guidelines
  • Metadata definitions
  • Standard screen specifications
  • Specifications for archive-ready image data and metadata

I know it’s a lot of technical mumbo jumbo. Basically, by working in the ACES color space you know that the image you are seeing on set will be consistent with the image delivered for distribution.

Post Production Hop Topic #4 – Red Giants’ New Compositing Plugin Super Comp

Super Comp is more than just a basic green screen compositing plugin. It looks at the environment into which an image is being placed so that it looks more realistic. It does so analyzing each of the following in the layers of the composite:

  • Colors
  • Background
  • Lighting
  • Haze

The plugin will change and adapt to meet any changes in the layer order of that composite. While this may not be a universal Post trend, it has made a huge impact on the way we work here in our Post Production editing suites and has allowed us to deliver more realistic-looking composites in less time.

Post Production Hop Topic #3 – Artificial Intelligence

AI has been making its way into our workflows at an increasing rate. Adobe has been rolling AI features into After Effects and Photoshop, allowing for unwanted objects and background to be removed from stills and footage and replaced with nearby pixels “filing” in the gaps. Processes that would have taken hours of rotoscoping or painting to do can now be done almost instantaneously. DaVinci Resolve also has the same functionality right in the edit page without having to go to another program, like going from Premiere to After Effects. While Adobe calls it “Content-Aware Fill,” Resolve calls it “Object Removal.”

Adobe also has an automatic Re-Framing function in Premiere. This function uses AI to analyze a sequence and reformat it for the different frame sizes required for a variety of social media platforms.

The implementation of AI into Post is also showing up in other NLEs, like in
the latest version of Avid Media Composer in the area of audio. Avid will analyze an edited sequence and automatically remove any silence at a user-defined threshold. This is a huge time saver when you need to give your audio mixer the cleanest output possible on a long video, TV show or film.

Post Production Hop Topic #2 – Unreal Engine

A system that was originally developed for the gaming industry, Unreal Engine has been implemented and adapted for Production and Post. Here at SNEAKY BIG, we use Unreal Engine as the core of our amazing virtual set capabilities. It allows us to place people shot on green screen from our stage or anywhere in the world directly into any environment or room we create. The technology is being driven by innovators like Lucas Film and Industrial Light and Magic who used Unreal extensively on the Disney+ show “The Mandalorian.”

In conjunction with the development of LED video walls and panels, this technology could lead to the end of the need for green screen compositing. Unreal Engine’s capabilities are mind blowing and much easier to understand when you can see it in action. If the current situation with the COVID pandemic was not impacting everyone’s lives, this would have been Hot Topic #1.

Post Production Hop Topic #1 – Remote Editing Workflows

Remote editing workflows have advanced very quickly to meet the ongoing needs of Post in these challenging times. Some ways we have seen this progress include:

  • Bringing media home to work off of physical drives
  • Remotely connecting into your work system
  • Cloud-based workflows where the media lives on a distant remote server

Some of the biggest advances that I’ve appreciated during work from home are in the cloud-based workflows. Workflow options from Frame.io integrate directly into the NLE to allow for sharing and accessing of both media by editors and clients and the review and synchronization of client feedback. With these workflows, you don’t even need to leave your editing application of choice.

Other companies have gotten in on the cloud-based workflow action as well. Avid and EditShare have greatly improved the implementation of their existing cloud platforms to meet the challenge as well. These platforms allow for working directly with media stored in the cloud without ever needing to have the footage on a hard drive connected to your system. There are many other companies rising to the occasion as well, like BeBop Technologies, Blackbird and Promax to name just a few.

Arizona Post Production Studio

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